New testing?

My boat is talking about the uscg is thinking of or is doing away with chart plotting tests and going to ecdis tests and doing away with ocean testing in the next few years? Were did this information come from? I guess right now word-of-mouth but I’m just trying to track it down

Haven’t heard that one but makes sense given the gov’s moves towards phasing out printed charts…

Just what we need: a new generation of sailors that cannot navigate, and can only play video games.

Companies want to dumb it down to make it easier to flood the market with licenses again.

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Great idea. Maritime education in many countries is handicapped by intransigent people in charge.

More progressive countries have significantly reduced the time spent teaching cadets things that are hardly used at sea anymore and focus on the modern things that are used at sea.

In many countries the people running the maritime education are weird intransigent people who want to keep wasting cadet’s time by making them spend lots of time learning things that are not really used at sea anymore.


Thousands of limited tonnage masters/mates wouldn’t know an ECDIS if they tripped over it.

Charting and piloting are basic seamanship skills. Especially for those operating in coastal and inland waters. I doubt the USCG is going to do away with that knowledge test anytime soon.

There does seem to be a growing number of people that think basic chart navigation is an ancient, unnecessary skill. I dont get it.


Other than switching completely to prove on demand charts what would those moves be?

That is the move…I remember when I had a book of maps in my car too. Not saying paper charts will ever necessarily go away, but given the trends I would not be surprised if the uscg eventually adapts their requirements as well. Just a thought…

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Why though? That’s just the logical progression of adopting modern technology. Instead of printing a giant stack of charts that are out of date before they get to the chandlery there’s technology that allows places that still charts to print a chart the moment a customer requests it and it’s automatically fully updated. That’s a no brainer and is not an indication that they plan on doing away with paper charts.


I, too used to have lots of maps in my car. Like many, I don’t now. Well, at least until the GPS system goes down. If I were an enemy, that is the first thing that I would take out.

I have had the pleasure of working with a few cadets from India recently and yes, they do learn how to plot with paper charts and this is a tested subject for their license. However, most time is spent on ECDIS as this is what ships have used for years outside the coastwise Jones Act fleet. Some of the most knowledgeable people in our fleet with regards to ECDIS are the “old” masters, say age 50+. None of them wish to go back to paper charts, though they know perfectly well how to hand plot and basic charts are kept on board for emergencies. Same like teaching how to rig a sail in BST courses for survival at sea…why the USCG still requires this knowledge is odd, considering technology evolved to enclosed lifeboats. Is it good to know? Sure. Useful? Likely not for 99.999% of sailors. Crowley installed a third radar on many of their tankers at the request of charterers (or OCIMF requirement, I do not recall) yet made no investment at the time to go full ECDIS. A bizarre decision to me. I believe now some ships have converted to ECDIS - someone can correct me if I am wrong. Again, this change would occur only based on charterer requirements. The office would say “paper charts are cheap and we used the for years…why change now” :roll_eyes:

I used to keep an atlas in my car when driving, just for emergencies. My wife is a few years younger than me and she never learned how to read a map. Her parents didn’t teach her and neither did school. I don’t remember the last time I needed to get out that atlas…I’m not sure if it’s even in the car. I’ve visited many countries for work and always navigated using Google Maps or Waze everywhere in China, Korea, Japan, and various European countries since at least 2017. Sure, getting lost in a car on the road is not the same as ship navigation, but the point is technology changes and the marine industry is the slowest to adapt and embrace new technology. Sometimes that’s good, other times it’s a detriment to efficiency and safety. I trust ECDIS positioning more than hand plots. But every person has their own experiences and some have different perspectives - like anything else. No way is “right” or “wrong”, only different. Those who have an extreme reluctance to discard paper charts are the same people who believe all tankers should have manual valves for everything. The good 'ol days… Those days also had 30+ crew and less “secondary” duties for mates.